FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL Noonan has said that people will be “astounded at all the good news I’ll be announcing” in the Budget on Tuesday afternoon.
Speaking to delegates at the Fine Gael national conference in Limerick, Noonan said that it will not be enough to get out of the bailout at the end of the year saying: “We have to get out and stay out.”
The Minister said that the country is fully funded into 2015 even without any additional borrowing and dropped a hint that Ireland may not need a precautionary credit facility when it exits the Troika programme.
This came after similar comments from the EU economic commissioner Olli Rehn last night.
At the end of his speech Noonan said he looked forward to people tuning into his Budget speech on Tuesday and said: “You’ll be astounded at all the good news I’ll be announcing!”
Earlier in a discussion involving other senior ministers and Fine Gael backbenchers, Noonan said there are still “bits and bobs” to work on in the Budget ahead of next Tuesday’s announcement but that a lot of the “heavy lifting” will be done with a growing economy.
Noonan said: “We have to continue meeting the targets imposed on us through the bailout and that means that this Budget will be reasonably tough.
“But this year we had a bit of room to ease back a little… and we promised people we would ease back a little.”
Noonan said that the government is aware of how “fraught” life is for a lot of families, adding: “A lot of individuals are on the edge, so we will be very careful in the adjustments.”
‘Bits and bobs… bells and whistles’
Asked by chair, Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness, if the Budget is 99 per cent done, Noonan joked: “Ah there’s bits and bobs, you know…. some bells and whistles.”
Noonan also said that it is important for the government to have a “new blueprint for the economy” so as that the country does not go from “boom to bust, from boom to bust, from boom to bust”.”
He said: “During my time in politics we’ve seen good times, but we’ve seen an awful lot of bad times. Previously when the economy went into recession the solution was to get back to where we were before we collapsed. Now, that’s not a solution this time.”
He said that going back to where the country was before the economic collapse would result in “insolvent Ireland” and “broke banks”.
The Minister said that the property bubble “sucked the credit lines out of the economy and all the available credit went into development and speculation but the credit lines then weren’t there for the job creation, the manufacturing or services and so on”.
“What we are planning to do is that as we get out of the bailout at the end this year we’ll have a new blueprint for Ireland and it will have all the ideas that other Ministers are advocating,” Noonan added.
On the Budget he added: “While it’s still difficult, we know now that we can do it, we know now that the economy is stable again and growing”.
First published 12.29pm